When gently corrected by one of the astronauts about how other women have spacewalked, Donald Trump uses his middle finger to "fix" his hair.— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) October 21, 2019
How is this even real life? pic.twitter.com/9bnj7XfY1m
"We never agreed to protect the Kurds…we never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives," Trump said at Cabinet.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) October 21, 2019
US officials tell me Trump wants to wash his hands of responsibility for the Kurds. The US mil/gov gave Kurds REPEATED assurances of protection. US even asked Kurds to REMOVE defenses BEFORE the Turkish offensive. Kurds complied and now being displaced. WH says not our problem.— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) October 21, 2019
Trump falsely says "they say" no other president gave away their salary, that he's the only one. Hoover and Kennedy both donated their salaries.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) October 21, 2019
"These people are sick. There's something wrong with them," Trump said of Hillary Clinton and/or his critics more broadly. Rejecting Clinton's claims, he said Jill Stein and Tulsi Gabbard are not Russian agents or assets.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) October 21, 2019
Trump just claimed his G-7/Doral pick was OK because Obama got a Netflix & book deal. He claimed these were negotiated while in office.— jordan (@JordanUhl) October 21, 2019
There's no proof, and CNN fact-checked in real time.
He then went on to claim the Emoluments clause is "phony." CNN put it on the screen. pic.twitter.com/lq8ifvlqRy
Trump: "You people with this phony Emoluments Clause”— Anita Kumar (@anitakumar01) October 21, 2019
Trump, in the middle of a monologue about how George Washington was also a businessman while in office, cast baseless aspersions on Obama's post-presidency deal with Netflix. He then mocked the "phony Emoluments Clause," which is in the actual Constitution.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) October 21, 2019
Here’s more word salad from the official WH press pool reporter:
Washington Blade: Will you leave a limited number of troops in Syria?
POTUS: I don’t think it’s going to be necessary. I don’t want to leave any troops there. That’s very dangerous territory. You know, we have 28 troops as it turned out. They said 50, it was 28. And you have an army on both sides of those troops. Those troops would have been wiped out.
I don’t think it’s necessary other than we secure the oil. It’s a little different section, but we need to secure the oil.
And the other region where we’ve been asked by Israel and Jordan to leave a small number of troops is a totally different section of Syria, near Jordan, and close to Israel. And that’s a totally different section. That’s a totally different mindset. So we have a small group there, and we secured the oil. Other than that, there’s no reason for it, in our opinion.
And again, the Kurds we’re going to be watching. We’re working with the Kurds. Good relationship with the Kurds, but we never agreed to protect the Kurds. We supported them for three-and-a-half, four years. We never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives. Remember this: When Iraq was fighting the Kurds, everybody thought we were going to fight with the Kurds. I said, “Well, it’s a little strange that we’re going to fight for the Kurds when just spent $4 trillion on Iraq, and now we’re going to be fighting Iraq.” So what I did is I said, “We’re not going to take a position. Let them fight themselves. I thought the Kurds would do very well, I thought the Kurds would do very well.” Iraq moved in and the Kurds left.
They didn’t fight because they didn’t have us to fight with them. A lot of people are good when they fight with us, you know, when you have $10 billion worth of airplanes shooting 10 miles in front of your line, it’s much easier to fight.
But with that, they were a good help, but we were a great help to them, too. They were fighting ISIS. You know, they hated ISIS. So they were fighting ISIS. But we never agreed — Where’s the agreement that said we have to say in the Middle East for the rest of humanity, for the rest of civilization to protect the Kurds. We never said that.
And we have protected them. We’ve taken very good care of them. And I hope they’re going to watch over ISIS because again, most of it’s not in the safe zone as we call. Some places call it a demilitarized zone. In the old days, we’d call it a demilitarized zone. And our relationship with the Kurds is good. And they’re going to be safe.
And I will say this: If shooting didn’t start in a couple of days, I don’t think the Kurds would have moved, I don’t think, frankly, we would have been able to make a very easy deal with Turkey. I think when it started for a few days, it was so nasty, that when we went to Turkey and we went to the Kurds, they agreed to do things they would’ve never done before the shooting started. If they didn’t go through two-and-a-half days of Hell, I don’t think they would have done it. I think you couldn’t have made a deal, and people have been trying to make this deal for years. But we’re close to making it. We’ll see what happens. Again, they’ve been fighting for 300 years that we know of. Three hundred years.
So why should we put our soldiers in the midst of two large groups, hundreds of thousands, potentially, of people, and they’re fighting? I don’t think so.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ratcheted up the level of confusion about U.S. actions in Syria Monday, saying that Donald Trump would be “fully prepared” to use military force against Turkey if needed.
“We prefer peace to war,” Pompeo told CNBC in a taped interview airing Monday. “But in the event that kinetic action or military action is needed, you should know that President Trump is fully prepared to undertake that action.” This is after Trump and administration officials said they may or may not keep a couple of hundred troops in Syria to protect the oil.
Trump is still careening wildly between “we’re bringing our soldiers back home” and “We have secured the Oil. Bringing soldiers home!” and “I’m trying to get out of wars. We may have to get in wars, too.” That last one is the really scary one, considering Pompeo’s latest little hand grenade.
Probably worth reminding everyone that Turkey is a member of NATO. If a member of NATO is attacked, other members must defend it. If Trump attacks Turkey, the US must defend Turkey.
Lurking behind all this is the very real possibility that Trump’s people have one thought in the back of their minds: Conventional wisdom says a wartime president can’t be impeached. That has to be a part of every calculation the Trumpsters are making right now.
Along those lines, Trump’s disapproval is approaching an all-time high, so that’s good.
A bit unrelated, but here’s a document dump — a 4 page fact sheet released by Nancy Pelosi’s office this morning: